What is upskilling? Upskilling is the process of learning new skills that your organisation needs to succeed, currently and in the long term. By developing yourself with these missing skills, the gap closes between what employees can offer and what the organisation needs them to do. This skill gap is usually caused by an aging workforce and fast changing growth in technology. Think of it as something that benefits you as an individual, because you will help your organisation remain competitive in an ever-changing environment, but you can also help yourself with personal development, by gaining a new skill or knowledge. With that, let’s explore a step-by-step process for you to upskill yourself.
1. Begin with goal-setting
Before you begin, you need to take a step back and identify your goals. Do you have a specific career path you want to take? Are you aiming for a promotion opportunity? Is there a specific task you want to be able to achieve on your own that requires certain skills? Knowing what your goals are will help you go in the right learning direction. This can be anything. Perhaps you want to go from entry-level to a manager-level position. Or maybe you have the long-term goal of being a recruiter, hence knowing a different language might help reach more candidates.
2. Identify your knowledge gaps
Now that you know your goals, what is stopping you from achieving them? These will be your knowledge gaps. You can find out what knowledge gaps you have by consulting with people who have already achieved what they want. Ask them what skills got them to where they are. Alternatively, you can look at job postings for the position you’re aiming for. Check out what skills the recruiters require to consider someone for the job. Compare these to your existing skills.
3. Create an upskilling strategy for learning
With your knowledge gaps clearly identified, you can start creating a learning strategy. Look at various education and training opportunities that can fill in your gaps. Plan out an ongoing learning calendar for yourself using these resources. What will you learn first? What will follow? Where will you learn this skill? Also, consider what budget you or your organisation have before choosing your upskilling options. You should also plan out how you'll make time for learning. For example, you may decide to spend 2 hours learning a new language during the weekends.
4. Start learning
It’s time to put your plan into action and learn a new skill. This will take time — you can’t rush learning. Do your best to have fun throughout the process and cultivate curiosity.
5. Exercise your skills
Learning should always culminate in practice. Find opportunities to practise what you’ve learnt in real situations. For example, if you’ve just learnt a programme that organises your department’s workflow, suggest a workflow you can automate at work and develop something for that. If you don’t feel confident enough to make a big move yet, practise on your own first.
6. Don’t stop learning
Lastly, never stop upskilling as it requires continuous learning. Even once you achieve your goals, you can always stay open to improving yourself and pursue lifelong learning. Remain adaptable so you can fill in those gaps as your industry evolves.